It’s been over a month since the dreadful day that Emily and I tackled her room for 8 1/2 hours. I am SO incredibly overjoyed to report that her room looks as good today as it did at the end of our cleaning marathon. Friday will mark the one month date of that day and she has earned lunch out with mom. She also earned a day out with Dad today. She has a Dad/Daughter banquet at Bright Lights tonight and so they are out having lunch and shopping. She left the house so light hearted today as she went with her dad. She actually saw how her hard work paid off as her brother and sister are now deep cleaning their rooms and she is done with hers.
It took me a month to get up the nerve to have another day of deep cleaning. I’ve had this hanging over my head for the past four weeks. This time it is the 13 year old’s room and the 6 year old’s room. So far, there have been no major emotional injuries to report (although I had to take ice to the 13 year old to get him out of bed “NO! I don’t want to clean my room today!” sometimes we have serious issues with forgetting that we are 13 and not 3!).
Almost every single day I stand amazed at the difference in my children. Ellen, my six year old, tends to be most like me when it comes to cleaning her room. She had allowed her room to become a pig sty but when I told her yesterday that today would be no school but instead room cleaning day, she jumped right in and when I got up she was already at the job! She does a great job of organizing her stuff and she doesn’t seem to get overwhelmed at the pile in the middle of the floor. She sorts through it as she goes and throws away what she doesn’t want. When she is finished, she has done most, if not all, of the job completely by herself.
If you remember anything at all about the post a month ago, 10 year old, Emily, is the polar opposite of Ellen. She collects everything and easily gets overwhelmed at the mess. For Emme, life is easier if you just step over something than it is if you stop and pick it up and put it away. It seems as if she has a personal relationship with every single scrap of paper that has touched her fingers. Often, motivation is the only way to get Emme to be willing to tackle her room.
And, then there is 13 year old Eric, need I say anything more? His personality, right now, changes with the wind. Somedays he’s “good boy Eric” (a term he loves to use thanks to his Aunt Gabe!) and other days…well, let’s just say “not so good boy Eric”. Though he saves a lot of stuff, he is relatively neat and organized. His room is the smallest room in the house and so I think he’s organized by necessity. However, today getting this child to do anything today is harder than pulling teeth! He’ll put two things away and wander out to ask me a question. I’m thinking he may be on track to beat Emily’s 8 1/2 hour cleaning marathon time.
I wish I took the time, more often, to observe the differences in my children. I fall in the trap of treating all three of them in the same way. I think they should act in the same manner, learn the in the same way, and clean their rooms in the same style. I’m learning that most of my battles with them are my own fault. If I were a diligent student of each of them, learning who they are and how they view things, I think I would choose my battles differently and I think I would battle less and love more.
So, on this day when the mantra is “when in doubt… throw it out!!!” I think I will do some serious observing and hopefully learning more of who these incredible individuals are that came from me and live in my home.